Tuesday, March 22, 2011


* I now own a bookbag with Chairman Mao's face on it. Photos up sometime later this week.

* A scandal erupted on a Vanpool trip that I was not on. Accusations have been made that Barbara tried to pocket $20 when handing money up to Charlie. She has denied these allegations.

"I saw her put the $20 in her wallet," this young Indian guy says. "Then she tried to flip the script and say I didn't pay. Heh! If I had a chance to steal $20 every chance I got, I'd be a millionaire."

He pauses.

"I manage $800 million in a personal services account alone. You think they'd give me a job like that if I stole $6?"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Bookbag for Chairman Mao

* Jennifer turns around to me all of a sudden.

"My son has to do a book report and it has to be a biography," she says. "And he picked Chairman Mao. One kid picked Tony Hawk. And like three others picked Nicholas Tesla."

"The teacher's really weirded out by it. I think I have to call her and tell her that my family believes in democracy."

She then asks me if I remember her telling me about a bookbag with Chairman Mao's face on it that her sister, who lives in China, bought and gave to Jennifer's son as a gift. I tell her that I do.

"Do you still want it? I'll sell it to you for $20."

I will be receiving this gift on Tuesday.

* We pick up the newspapers. The woman who looks like Precious tells us Happy St. Patrick's Day. The guy riding shotgun asks her where her green is.

"Oh, I got green socks on," she says. "But I couldn't find a green shirt to wear."

The guy who gives us the papers runs up behind her.

"I have on green underwear."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Moves

* My parents have a house in upstate New York. Barbara brings this up in conversation. I ask her if she's ever been to Saratoga, which is a pretty well-to-do town.

"Surprisingly no," she says.

"That's a surprise. I would have thought that a woman on the go such as yourself would have been there," I say.

"I do have the moves," she says.

* I am sitting next to Barbara. She asks me if I could move in the backseat before she gets out.

"You know me. I need to fly in the morning."

* The guy at the corner who hands us newspapers runs up to the van.

"Sorry I'm late. It's raining out. And you know what happens to me when it rains? I start to mellllllllllltttttt."

* Christina fakes (I think?) being mad at me.

"Make sure you don't talk tomorrow so I can sleep."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Are We There Yet?

* Most of The Vanpool talk focuses around college basketball and China's emergence as a world power. We make it into Midtown and let Barbara off at her stop.

"Are we there yet," she asks. She then pauses and laughs completely by herself.

She then leaves the van without shutting the door. One of the middle aged guys who sits in the front of the van has to shut it for her.

"Hopefully one day she'll leave me a tip."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Charlie Sheen Moment

* Vanpool discussion focuses around Charlie Sheen, as all discussions in all aspects of my life have the past few weeks.

"I had my own Charlie Sheen moment," Barbara says.

"I'd like more details," I say.

"Yes, please," Nick says. "Don't be bashful."

Barbara is elusive, but we finally get her to spill.

"I was at a private club with a boyfriend of mine," she says. "He was cute. So he came up to us and and said he was going to another party and wanted to know if we wanted to go. So we got into the limo with him and went to this other party."

I ask her what a "private club" means.

"You know," she says. "It's private."

She then continued about Charlie Sheen.

"He was young to have a limo. It was when Red Dawn was coming out so he must've been about 26." (EDITOR'S NOTE: I just checked. He was 19.)

"He gave me his number so I called him once or twice and then that's it. I was going through some old things a few years ago and found his number. But that was so long ago. It wasn't really anything."

* After Barbara leaves, everyone turns around laughing. I thought they were sleeping the entire trip. They thank me for my ability to fish information from her while keeping a straight face.

* John Krazinski's Uncle leaves his briefcase in the back of The Van this morning. He goes to retrieve it but Charlie doesn't see him. He's then nearly dragged for about 10 feet as he runs while holding onto the back of The Van. Charlie finally stops before an awful tragedy strikes.

The Meatpacking District

* Barbara reflects on the changes in Manhattan since she used to live there.

"Look at you," I say. "All the chefs you know."

"Not chefs," she says. "Owners."

* "It used to be that the only reason you'd go to the Meatpacking District is to bring a boyfriend to get a you know what so you could keep him." -- Barbara.